Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
Ostmark Lutheran Church-ELCA, of rural Watkins, will celebrate its fourth annual "Homecoming Celebration" activities beginning Wednesday, May 21, through Sunday, May 23, in preparation for Memorial Day. The annual open house will be from noon-6 p.m. Wednesday, and 9 a.m-6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. The church will be open, refreshments served and restrooms available. Members serve as hosts to give tours, answer questions, share the archive of Confirmation photos and church history. The congregation is 114 years old but the current church was dedicated in 2001 after the former church was destroyed by fire in 2000. A new bell tower was dedicated last year during the Memorial Weekend activities. There will be a Celebration Worship Service at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, May 25, with Holy Communion. The Ostmark Choir will sing, Will Leafblad, rural Watkins, will play oboe, and Sandy Brown, Litchfield, will be the featured musician. A potluck meal will follow. "This has developed into quite an annual event for Ostmark with people coming from all over the country," according to Joyce Burgstaler, Kimball, Evangelism Committee chair. "So many people come back to decorate family graves and the cemetery surrounding the church is just beautiful. People run into one another who may not have seen one another for years, but their history with the church offers a connection. Family groups were already coming this past Sunday and the men put flags out on all the Veterans' graves. It has just become quite an event. Of course, there is always plenty of coffee and lemonade to go with all the conversation." Featured this year will be a CD recording of Ryan Rice's recent vocal concert: Songs of Travel for $15. Ten percent of the proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society through the church's Relay for Life team in memory of Rice's grandmother Jean Rice. The rest will go toward helping pay off the bell tower loan debt. The committee also hopes to have 2008 commemorative porcelain ornaments for sale featuring the church with the new bell tower. The winter scene of the church framed in snow on a bright blue day was photographed by Edwin Hallberg, Kimball. Copies of the 110th Anniversary Cookbook by the Women of Ostmark and Centennial History Books will also be available. Orders will still be taken for prints of the 2007 Bell Tower Dedication photo.
Regular worship services are 9 a.m. Sundays with Holy Communion on the first and third Sundays of the month. A prayer Service with Holy Communion is celebrated at 3 p.m. on the first and third Wednesdays of each month. Ostmark is located 12 miles northeast of Litchfield, off of Highway 24, or 7-1.2 miles southeast of Watkins. For more information or directions, call the church (320) 693-8450.